Do I Need to Insulate My Crawl Space?

Updated on January 8, 2023

Every home, especially older ones, has hard-to-reach places that many homeowners rarely think about. The axiom “out of sight, out of mind” rings true time and time again. But sometimes forgotten places may have a larger impact on your home than you think, such as crawl spaces.

Crawl Space 101

Encapsulated crawl spaceCrawl spaces can be thought of as mini basements. A narrow, unfinished space between the bottom floor and the ground of a home, a person must crawl through them when inside and they are frequently damp, moldy and overrun with pests. Due to their size, inaccessibility, and unwelcome conditions, many homeowners choose to leave their crawl spaces unattended and uninsulated.

There are two types of crawl spaces, vented and non-vented (conditioned). Vented crawlspaces are common in Virginia homes and were built with vents leading to the outside of the home to let the crawl space walls allow built-up moisture to escape to the outside. But the opposite happens. The open vents allow both humid summer air and cold winter air into the crawl space, where the moist summer air creates condensation as it passes over the cool surfaces inside the space.

Non-vented (conditioned) crawl spaces have no vents to the outside and typically have a supply vent from the heating and cooling system in place to keep out the cold or warm air from outside.

All crawl spaces are susceptible to moisture and deterioration problems because of the humidity in the soil which can cause them to become damp. This damp environment can be unhealthy, harbor mold, and create an ideal living space for pests. By properly insulating and conditioning your space, these problems can be reduced.

There are numerous telltale signs to signal you may need to insulate your crawlspace, such as:

  • Cold floors, especially in winter
  • Musty or damp odors coming from below the floor
  • Visible mold or moisture collecting in the crawl space
  • Unusually high energy bills
  • A decrease in indoor air quality — more dust and pollutants in the air

If you have noticed any or all these signs, it’s time to have your crawl space checked by a professional.

The Benefits of Insulating a Crawl Space

Crawl space insulation

Beyond helping to turn your crawl space into a more hospitable place, adding proper insulation increases the energy efficiency and comfort of your home. Insulating your crawl space is as important as insulating the rest of your house. Here’s a look at the biggest benefits of insulating your crawl space:

  • Lowers energy bills
    Adding insulation and sealing air leaks in your crawl space prevents conditioned air from leaking through the floor of your home into the crawl space below and exiting. It also keeps cold air from entering your home. This not only makes your home more comfortable, but it lowers your utility bills. In fact, homeowners can lower their energy bill up to 15% by properly insulating and air sealing their home.
  • Prevents moisture and mold growth, eliminates condensation
    Closing off access to moisture will eliminate the musty odors of mold and mildew and keep them from growing in your crawl space.
  • Keeps out bugs
    Closing off vents in a non-vented crawl space helps prevent bugs, spiders and other pests from calling your crawl space home.
  • Improves air quality in your home
    Crawl space insulation can prevent pollutants from entering your home through the floor.
  • Increases the life of your HVAC system
    When a home is properly insulated it means it is easier to keep the home at an ambient temperature year-round because less air is leaking out or coming in through porous openings. That means your HVAC system doesn’t need to work as hard to maintain a constant temperature in your home. This makes both you and your HVAC system very happy.
  • Protects the foundation of your home
    A non-vented crawl space helps keep the area clean and dry, protecting your home’s foundation for many years to come.
  • Can create additional storage space
    If you have a non-vented (conditioned) crawl space insulation completed, the space can be used to store items. It’s important to choose a sturdy vapor barrier that can stand up to foot traffic and boxes and be careful not to store any irreplaceable documents or pictures.

The Crawl Space Insulation Experts

At Toler Insulating, our number one priority is our customers. Our team of insulation experts has been serving our Lynchburg community since 1994, providing only the best in customer service and insulation products. We are here to answer your questions about crawl space insulation for your home and look forward to speaking with you. Contact us today to schedule a free evaluation of your crawl space.